A letter from Lublin residents and friends supporting Tomasz Kitliński

We, the undersigned, stand in defense of the freedom of speech, which in our sincere opinion, was not abused by Professor Tomasz Kitliński in a comment made by him on his Facebook page.

The comment concerned a proposal to take back the Amicis Universitatis Mariae Curie-Skłodowska Medal, granted by the University’s president, for Mr. Przemysław Czarnek.

Professor Tomasz Kitliński, as every citizen of the Republic of Poland, has an active and inalienable right to the expression of his opinion, in a way that is guaranteed in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, as well as in international agreements standing in defense of freedom of expression, the foundation of contemporary democracy.

Przemysław Czarnek may, and even should be, as a public figure, subject to open criticism, because of the stances he is demonstating. To hide oneself behind a penal law paragraph protecting the constitutional organs is, in our opinion, a misuse going much too far. Harmful opinions presented by Mr. Czarnek were part of his political activity and do not have anything to do with the the governor's Office held by him until recently.

The term used by Professor Kitliński in the context of evaluation of granting the medal to the governor Mr. Przemysław Czarnek, that is: “he prides himself in hate toward Ukrainians, LGBT people or Muslims and reduces the role of women to reproduction”, on which a dispute continues, is strongly supported by numerous public appearances of the just-elected MP.

We are deeply convinced, that to attack others with trial threats, just because of their opinions - opinions that the other side has a right not to agree with - with the help of the public prosecutor’s office is highly immoral, is a menace to the freedom of speech and constitutes a real and highly effective tool for the enslavement of free expression.

Mr. Przemysław Czarnek, as a politician and citizen, could have used a private trial indictment, as other politicians in similar cases do. The established way of indictment, on the grounds of the paragraph subject to prosecution by the public prosecutor’s office, is a method of intimidation of any future critical voices. In our assessment, this kind of actions potentially establish a - regrettably, real and actual - danger to unhampered and free from constraint factual need of expression, which calls for our strong objection.  

Professor Tomasz Basiuk  
Dr Helena Chmielewska-Szlajfer  
Dr Sylwia Chutnik  
Professor Irena Grudzińska-Gross  
Professor  Shireen Hassim  
Agnieszka Holland  
Dr Mikołaj Iwański  
Professor  Rafał Jakubowicz  
Professor Maria Janion  
Professor Jonathan D. Katz  
Professor Jacek Kochanowski  
Professor Ewa Majewska  
Szymon Pietrasiewicz
Tomasz Pietrasiewicz  
Elżbieta Podleśna  
DSc. Ewa Solska, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin  
Bart Staszewski  
Kazimiera Szczuka  
Dota Szymborska  
Professor Marek Wilczyński  
DSc. Piotr Witek, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin  
Maciej Wodziński, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin  
Aleksandra Zińczuk, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin  
Professor Pierre Zoberman 

Aleksandra Zińczuk (et al.)    Contact the author of the petition

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